2009 Report Card Overview
Hamilton County Schools maintains stride
Student achievement scores dip in K-8 Reading,increase in K-8 Math and high school Math
CHATTANOOGA, TN – Academic Achievement in Hamilton County kept up with the state average even as reading scores dipped. Elementary and middle school math scores increased slightly as did scores across the board on the Algebra, Biology and English Gateway exams.
Thirteen schools scored straight As in Academic Achievement and another three schools scored straight As in one-year academic growth grades. Six high schools increased scores on two out of three Gateway Exams in 2009.
The Tennessee Department of Education released the 2009 Report Card for the Hamilton County Department of Education today with the District receiving Cs in Academic Achievement and Cs in student academic progress.
The way the scores were calibrated changed dramatically in 2009 as the state prepared for higher standards next year. As such, Report Card letter grades in 2009 cannot be compared to those from 2008.
“This was a tough year around the district,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales. “We had successes this year in attendance and high school scores, but we still face many challenges including our graduation rate, ACT scores, dropout rates and higher state standards.”
The 2009 Report Card is based on student performance in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program in Spring 2009. Students in grades 3-8 are measured based on reading and math scores from the state standardized test while high school achievement is based on the Gateway Exams in English, Algebra and Biology.
The Report Card also details information about student demographics, attendance, promotion rates, graduation rates, drop-out rates, test scores, writing assessments, ACT results and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards.
Key results in the 2009 Report Card include:
- Hamilton County Schools TVAAS (value added) scores for Grades 3-8 were all Cs.
- Student achievement in the district was all Cs in 2009 (avg. year’s growth)
- ACT composite scores dipped to 19.5.
- The District K-8 attendance rose to 95.38% with the high schools climbing to 91.8%.
- Promotion rates dipped slightly to 97.5% this year in grades K-8.
- The percentage of 3-8 students scoring proficient and advanced increased in math to 90.1%, but dipped almost 2 percentage points in reading to 90.1%.
- The percentage of 3-8 students scoring advanced in math fell from 44.8% in 2008 to 40.3% in 2009.
- The percentage of 3-8 students scoring advanced in reading dropped from 43.9% in 2008 to 40.3%in 2009.
- Gateway Algebra proficient and advanced scores jumped almost 5 percentage points to 76.4%.
- Gateway Algebra advanced scores rose from 31.8% in 2008 to 38% in 2009.
- Gateway English proficient and advanced scores increased almost 1 percentage point to 96.3%.
- Gateway English advanced scores increased from 72.1% in 2008 to 72.2% in 2009.
- Gateway Biology proficient and advanced scores increased ½ a percentage point to 94.6%
- Gateway Biology advanced scores rose from 56.3% in 2008 to 58.2% in 2009
- Students continued to demonstrate strong writing skills scoring 4.1 to 4.2 out of 6 over a 3-year average
“We have slipped a bit at the elementary and middle schools, but our high schools are making great improvements,” Board of Education Chairman Kenny Smith said. “I am really proud of the work our students and teachers are doing in every school in Hamilton County.”
Value Added Scores show consistent academic growth
Each year, the Report Card includes a grade, from A-F, for both academic achievement and student improvement (Value Added).
Academic achievement is based on scores on the standardized test. Value Added scores measure student progress within each grade (3-8) and subject from one year to the next. The state’s average for Value Added growth is represented with a “C” grade.
The way Value Added grades were calibrated changed dramatically in 2009. From 2003 to 2008, grades were based on student achievement in 1998. This year, the state removed the 1998 baseline and made 2009 the new baseline. As such, no comparison can be made between 2008 and 2009 grades.
Hamilton County Schools scored the following in terms of Value Added:
- All Cs for the District (matching the average rate of growth expected in a year)
- 3 elementary schools (4.8%) boast straight As in Value Added
- 10 elementary and middle schools (16.1%) had As and Bs in TVAAS
Elementary school scores slip
Students in grades 3-8 maintained their progress in math this year, with the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced climbing from 89.9% to 90.1%.
Several subgroups of students also maintained strides this year. Economically Disadvantaged students increased their math proficient and advanced scores from 84.5% to 84.7% this year. However, the percentage of African American students scoring proficient or advanced decreased from 82.6% to 82.1% with Hispanics dipping from 85.7% to 85.1%.
Reading scores dipped from 92% to 90.1 % proficient and advanced this year. Hispanic students’ scores dipped from 86.2% to 85.1% proficient and advanced with 82.1% of African American students scoring proficient or advanced in reading. Economically Disadvantaged students also slipped, dipping from 87.4% to 84.7% proficient and advanced in reading.
Graduation Rate Falls
Hamilton County’s four-year on-time graduation rate fell to 70.9%. The district was anticipating this dip, as more than 700 students had dropped out since starting ninth grade in 2005. To address this growing concern, Hamilton County Schools is hosting a community-wide visioning summit this month to address the issue of dropouts and graduation rate. This summit will engage all stakeholders in creating an action plan to reverse the trend and protect Hamilton County’s future.
The district’s four-year cohort drop-out rate also rose. Again, the large number of students who dropped out between 2005 and 2009 factored into this rate. The good news is that in 2009, the district only had 4.9% of its students drop out, which meets the state target of 5%. This creates an optimistic view of future graduation rates.
“Increasing the graduation rate and reducing dropouts is our top challenge,” Dr. Scales said. “We know this is a complex issue that begins before students even get to school. That is why we are engaging the entire community in coming up with solutions to this issue. Dropouts must be everyone’s business. They impact our community not only socially but economically as well.”
While the results of the 2009 Report Card are not what the district had hoped for, they are promising in some respects.
Students continue to achieve and grow in their learning while schools continue to focus on individualized student success. Hamilton County Schools also continues to implement programs designed to help the district achieve the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan 2011. Test score data is a tool the district uses to help refine curriculum and instruction at the building level to enable all schools and students to achieve.
“We know we have our challenges, and we are putting programs and processes in place to address them. The new standards are harder, but they are good for kids. We are making sure our curriculum is aligned with the state and making sure that the work is paced appropriately,” Dr. Scales said. “We need to get kids from point A to point B on time and with the skill set that enables them to be successful. We need to do a better job educating our economically disadvantaged and minority students in this district. We must also increase graduates and reduce dropouts. We accept these challenges, and we will get it done.”